Mr. Ben’s non-traditional field trip: Making a traditional Angolan meal

Mr. Ben’s Level 11 class did something different last week. They gathered at a student’s home and prepared a traditional Angolan meal. This allowed the students to learn more about each other’s background, culture, and cuisine, and to build a strong class community. It also allowed people from all around the world the opportunity to speak English together.

We strongly believe at CCB that students and teachers should see each other as human beings, to respect one another, and to learn from one another. When this happens, students feel more relaxed and comfortable in the class, and they are willing to use their English more and not be worried about making mistakes. It is also fun!

Here is the recipe video they created, and pictures of the fun time they had.

 

 

 

“Just an Old, Sweet Song, Keeps Georgia on My Mind”

Not every state in the U.S. has its own official song. However, Georgia has an official State Song, and that song has an incredible history.

In 1930, Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics) created a song  about Hoagy’s sister. Her name was “Georgia.” (Let’s not forget that before the state of Georgia, the word “Georgia” was commonly used as a woman’s name. It is a feminine form of the name “George.”) The name of the song was “Georgia on my Mind.”

In other words, Stuart Gorrell was in LOVE with Georgia Carmichael and wrote a song about how he was always thinking about her.

However, it was another man – a musical genius and legend named Ray Charles – who made the song very famous in 1960 when he recorded it. Ray Charles was born in the state of Georgia and many people actually thought he wrote the song. As a result, there has been a common belief that the song is about the STATE of Georgia, not a person named Georgia Carmichael.

For many years, Ray Charles did not perform concerts in Georgia because of the racial discrimination there. However, things improved enough that by 1979, Ray Charles began performing there again, and even sang the song “Georgia on my Mind” before the members of the Georgia General Assembly (the main legislative/governmental body in the state).

Shortly after, the General Assembly voted to make “Georgia on my Mind” the state song of Georgia. It is a beautiful song and we hope you will listen to it! Here is the original video of Ray Charles singing it to the General Assembly.

 

Hot July Idioms!

The month of July is just around the corner and things are only going to get hotter here in Atlanta! Here are a couple English idioms (expressions) which relate to the July heat (and also refer to the winter cold, which is the opposite).

“A cold day in July”

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A cold day in July is almost impossible in the United States, especially if you live in the southern states. This idiom is used when we think something is pretty much impossible.

“It’ll be a cold day in July before my boss gives me the raise I want!”

 

Christmas in July”

As you may know, many Americans celebrate Christmas and buy many gifts for their friends and family. But sometimes you might get many gifts at another time, for example your birthday. If you get many gifts or money at another time of the year, you might say “it was like Christmas in July.” Yes, you can say this even when it isn’t exactly July!

Volunteering at Annandale Village

We had an incredible time volunteering with residents at Annandale Village, a community which supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Afterwords, we had some delicious brunch at Egg Harbour Cafe near CCB School in Duluth. Here are the wonderful pictures taken by our Level 8 student Dan Do.

 

5 EASY TIPS FOR USING YOUR TEST SCRATCH PAPER

You are allowed to have up to three pieces of paper at any time to write notes and ideas during the TOEFL exam. Other high stakes tests often allow for use of paper as well. If you are not using this paper, you are hurting yourself. This paper is often called “scratch paper.” If you use up all your paper during the TOEFL test, raise your hand and the test administrator will bring you more. Needing more paper is a GOOD sign that you are taking advantage of this resource.

Taking notes of the TOEFL listening sections and using the scratch paper to prepare your writing and speaking is very important. If it is difficult for you to do it, don’t give up! Deciding that you’re just not going to take notes or use the paper is not a good solution for most test-takers. Practice, practice, practice, at home! Use listening material — especially the listening CDs or listening material that comes with TOEFL books — to practice taking notes. For the speaking sections, write down key words on your scratch paper in the 15 seconds you have. Brainstorm and/or write an outline on the scratch paper as a way to start the written sections.

These Five Points Should Cover Most Ways You Can Use the Scratch Paper:

1.) Write KEY WORDS, not full sentences. You don’t have time to be writing sentences.

2.) Write fast & messy. Only you need to be able to read your words.

3.) Use symbols and abbreviations to reduce writing time. For example, don’t write “money” — instead, you should use the $symbol.

4.) Use numbers to indicate transition words or phrases you will use in your speaking or writing. For example, in your notes, the number “1” means “first of all.” #2 means “in addition,” or “furthermore,” etc. #3 can mean “finally,” or “last but most importantly,” etc. Doing this saves you time from writing all those words.

5.) In the listening section, often the main idea is the first thing you will hear. This means you should be ready to take notes RIGHT AWAY… so be prepared and practice practice practice starting weeks or months before your test date!

Have questions or want specific advice? Just ask us!

What is the Most Common English Word?

Since the 1960s, computers have been able to store and analyze increasingly large amounts of data. Today, we can take all the words found in books, newspapers, magazines, and more, and store them in a database. What’s more, we can also do this with spoken language (although the process of converting it to text and storing it is more difficult).

 

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Large collections of language, used for studying and analyzing the language, are called corpora. One collection is called a corpus. A good corpus which can give us reliable information about a language needs to be based on millions of words. The largest American corpus today consists of over 520 million words (http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/). In Britain, several exist containing over a billion words!

Most corpora of American (and British) English say the same thing: the most common word in English is the

So it is not surprising: If we ask “What is the most common word in English?” we will see the word the in the question itself!!

What are some other very frequent words? And, be, of, to, a/an, in, have, that, I, are just some of the most common words which we are sure you already know!

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